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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been tearing my hair out trying to find the source of a clunk on my '05 PT Cruiser. I've replaced struts, CV axles, outer tie-rod ends and sway bar bushings, and I'm now pretty much convinced that it's coming from the Moog Problem Solver control arm on the passenger side. I have the standard (non "problem solver") arm on the driver side, and it doesn't clunk. I'm wondering if it has something to do with the metal rod end they put in these "new and improved" control arms. Anyone else had a problem with the Problem Solvers? Only clunks on bumpy roads at slow speeds. Fine on the highway and at higher speeds.

EDIT: I did find this old post (#49) on the Cruiserlinks forum. This is what I suspect too.

front end clunk at low speed - Page 5 - PT Cruiser Forum (ptcruiserlinks.com)

I actually disconnected my sway bar temporarily and the clunk was still there.
 

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1966 Crown Coupe, 2016 200 S AWD, 1962 Lark Daytona V8.
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The 'R'-series arms say OE-fit, form and style. The 'Problem Solver' series says nothing about OE or OEM.

I usually replace arms in pairs, I have had pulling issues otherwise. Always check toe after replacement.
The biggest failure was separation of the rear bushing rubber. It was 'captive', but it would rattle on the crossmember over bumps. The bushings seemed to last longer in dry climates.

 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for the response. That's what my driver's side bushing looked like before I replaced it. I actually did replace them within a couple weeks of each other, but I mistakenly ordered the OEM style for the driver side, not knowing that Moog also had the "Problem Solver". Two weeks later I discovered them and ordered one for the passenger side. Oddly enough, that seems to be the one that's rattling! The car drives great otherwise, I just hate hearing that something is loose in the front end.

I've triple checked that everything is tight in the suspension. Unless I have a bad ball joint (even though fairly new) I can't think of what it might be except perhaps it's the nature of the problem solver control arms or maybe something like the steering rack, which I can't even imagine how you get to on these cars. There's no play in the steering though.
 

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You do know that the torque on the bolt for the rear bushing is 180 ft.lb, right? My torque wrench only goes to 150, so I gave it that plus a little more and mine were fine. Moog replacements from rockauto at the time I did it. I DID have to reposition the ball joint stud, as it wasn't clocked properly and I couldn't get the bolt through it. Also, are you sure you got the correct size sway bar bushings? I THINK there were 3 different sizes on the PT's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You do know that the torque on the bolt for the rear bushing is 180 ft.lb, right? My torque wrench only goes to 150, so I gave it that plus a little more and mine were fine. Moog replacements from rockauto at the time I did it. I DID have to reposition the ball joint stud, as it wasn't clocked properly and I couldn't get the bolt through it. Also, are you sure you got the correct size sway bar bushings? I THINK there were 3 different sizes on the PT's.
Thanks, Chuzz. Yes, I have the same problem with my torque wrench. Gave it 150 plus a little more with a breaker bar. Yesterday I even loosened the torque struts and both right side control arm bolts, drove the car back and forth in the driveway with them loosened, jacked it back up and retightened. Also overtightened tie rod end bolt where it attaches to the knuckle just to rule out any slop there. Ball joint bolts are tight.

Last week I replaced wheel bearing and knuckle with a good bearing I took from another car as I did have a bad wheel bearing. I had this clunk before this swap was made. Outer tie rod ends are new as of two days ago.

I measured the sway bar with a caliper (24 mm) and ordered the correct bushings. My end link bushings could be better, but the clunk is there even when I disconnect the sway bar entirely.

Could be strut bearings I suppose, even though the struts are new, but I had the clunk before I installed them. The clunk is the main reason I got new struts!

I keep thinking it has to be the control arm and/or the ball joint, even though new as of a year ago. Almost everything else has been replaced in the last month, and I do remember that this passenger side control arm was a pain to get positioned, as you have mentioned.
 

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Upper strut clunks will sound like they are in front of you in the dash.
Sway bar bushings will be a 'rubbery' thump noise under your feet over bumps. Sway bar links will be more af a 'clatter' or 'rattle' over bumps.
 
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^^ +1. This is important. Don't tighten suspension fasteners with the wheels hanging in air. Only when sitting at road-load attitude with the weight of the vehicle on the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Actually, I've already tried tightening control arms bolts both on the ground and in the air. I've tried every combination of loose and tight on the bolts, even changed the ball joint pinch bolt out. Nothing has helped. I'm convinced it's a control arm bushing or ball joint, so I just went ahead and ordered another Moog arm from Amazon, without the "Problem Solver" metal bushing this time. $48.88 with Prime plus I get extra 5% for using Amazon credit card, and this way I'll get a new bushing & ball joint. My time to install it costs me nothing. If I took it to a shop it would cost me $100 for them just to look at it.. Actually, I'm getting pretty good at swapping out front suspension parts now. Motor torque struts are a bit of an extra PITA on the passenger's side, but I've already had them off twice in the last few days. :giggle:
 

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Any chance it's a busted watts link in the rear of the PT and the sound is transferring through the floor? IDK, just grasping at straws at this point. Since you didn't replace the end links, I would have a close look at them. Have someone bounce the front end while you lie beside each wheel and watch the end link.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Ok, the problem WAS the Moog Problem Solver control arm. I replaced it with the old original style Moog arm (with the rubber bushing) and the clunk is gone. My guess is that the problem is the metal tip at the bottom of the bushing (see control arm at top of photo). On the Problem Solver this tip protrudes through the hole in the frame that the rear control arm bolt passes through. The original does not. It just sits flat against the floor of the "box" in the frame that encloses the bushing. With the new style, if there is any slop between the hole and this metal tip you could have movement and metal-on-metal contact, which I guess will get worse over time as the hole wears from movement of the bushing. I could verify this by grinding the tip down and replacing it with a flat washer, but this was a PITA job today, outside in hot/humid weather. I don't care to repeat it so this it will have to remain a theory.

The original style bushing is the bottom one in the photo.

In any case, I'll be avoiding the Problem Solver control arms in future. This "improved" bushing might last longer, but what good is that if the clunking drives you to distraction?

82069
 

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Stupid question, I suppose, but I'll ask it anyway. Does the rubber collar on the Moog pull up and slide over the metal piece, just a little? It looks like it has some slack in it to me.
 

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The service manual for the jeep says the control arm must be hanging under it's own weight with no interference when tightening the bolts, so when I changed them I disconnected the ball joints and sway bar links on both sides and tied it all out of the way. Made it very easy except for the extra disassembly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Stupid question, I suppose, but I'll ask it anyway. Does the rubber collar on the Moog pull up and slide over the metal piece, just a little? It looks like it has some slack in it to me.
It's just a thin boot and wouldn't stop any metal on metal contact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The service manual for the jeep says the control arm must be hanging under it's own weight with no interference when tightening the bolts, so when I changed them I disconnected the ball joints and sway bar links on both sides and tied it all out of the way. Made it very easy except for the extra disassembly.
Yes, I think the PT manual says the same. I tried it both ways but it made no difference. Going back to the original style control arm with the rubber rear bushing was the fix for me.
 

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Is there no poly part available for this sickly engineered rubber connector? Is there a hot-rod part from another car? Does the Turbo use this junk as well?

I have 2 PT's and have replaced 5 of these totally junk arm and bushings. I'm fed up with this cheap faulty design from Detroit.

I believe that I will encase this next bushing completely in a stiff silicone if nothing else comes along.
 

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I installed control arm bushings from Energy Suspension in my PT and they've been great. I have well over 200,000 miles on them. Here is the link for the 04 PT, but they should all be the same:

Energy Suspension Site
 
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